For all those seeking to unwind from the everyday stresses by spending time out in nature, the “Landesgartenschau,” or state garden show, in Schwäbisch Gmünd, 50 kilometers east of Stuttgart, might be worth the trip.
The Landesgartenschau runs from April 30 until Oct. 12 and includes three themed areas: a landscape park called “Himmelsgarten” (heaven’s garden), an adventure forest “Himmelsleiter” (ladder to the sky) and nature within the city in Schwäbisch Gmünd’s downtown area, called “Erdenreich” (earth’s treasure). Show gardens, flower and plant exhibitions, landscape gardening and design, and floral design workshops are also an essential part of the Landesgartenschau.
According to Markus Brenner, spokesman for the state garden show, all three areas aim for visitors to feel, experience and connect with nature.
“The purpose of the garden show is to present nature and landscape in a new setting and to improve the city’s overall appearance. The Landesgartenschau will give our city a new face,” Brenner said. “Most of the displays and newly built park and garden areas will remain past the event.”
‘Himmelsgarten’ landscape park
Brenner recommends visitors start their journey at the landscape park (Himmelsgarten) located atop the “Wetzgau” plateau, where they can enjoy a bird’s-eye-view of the city from the “Himmelsstürmer” lookout tower, which was built exclusively for the event.
“Beside the view, mirrors were installed outside the wooden tower to reflect the sky and the sun, making for a spectacular play of lights,” Brenner said.
A “Weleda” healing plant garden, as well as nine show gardens featuring plants and colorful flower arrangements can also be found at the landscape park.
“The show gardens simply are impressive and dazzling to look at,” Brenner said.
Those interested in outdoor activities may enjoy a run through the hemp labyrinth, or spending time at the water playground next to a natural pool. Following these activities, patrons can rest on sundecks and various meadows and woodlands throughout the landscape park.
‘Himmelsleiter’ adventure forest
The Taubental Forest (Himmelsleiter) will offer more than 30 activities for the entire family. Children, for example, can search for wooden animals, learn about various trees and nature on the “Naturatum” adventure path, or roll wooden balls along a 300-meter ball path.
The “Erholungswald,” or recreational forest, will feature a “path of life” for visitors to focus on their inner self and to increase their well-being and energy in a natural setting. The path will be framed by sculptures and accessible art installations, illustrating bible verses and literature quotes, according to Brenner.
‘Erdenreich’ nature in the city
The Erdenreich will feature nature in the city and will present Schwäbisch Gmünd’s historic heritage in a new setting.
Schwäbisch Gmünd is considered the oldest Staufer city in Southern Germany. The Swabian Staufer dynasty, also referred to as the House of Hohenstaufen, was a dynasty of German monarchs that reigned between the 11th and 13th centuries.
History buffs may enjoy various landmarks throughout Schwäbisch Gmünd, such as the Johannes Cathedral, built between 1220 and 1250, and one of Swabia’s most prominent buildings of the late Romanesque era. The “Fünfknopfturm” Tower, a former watchtower built between the 12th and 13th centuries, can also be toured. The Heilig-Kreuz-Münster Cathedral is one of the oldest gothic hall churches in Southern Germany and was built between 1315 and 1521.
During the Landesgartenschau, the historic downtown area will feature green hideaways, alleys, colorful flower displays and a boardwalk along the Josefsbach Stream and Rems River. According to Brenner, visitors can stroll along the boardwalk, sit ashore the “Remsstrand” beach, or linger in the sun on terraces located next to the water.
The city park was also enlarged exclusively for the garden show and is now called “Remspark.” Here, visitors can also visit a small rococo-style castle built in 1780.
“The downtown area is the perfect place for people to relax and breathe in history,” Brenner said.
At the “Blumenhalle,” or flower hall, located at the Congress Centrum at the Remspark city park, visitors will find flower displays and ever-changing flower exhibitions stretching across a 600-square-foot area.
Soccer, basketball and indoor climbing will also be offered at Schwäbisch Gmünd’s former train depot.
Overall, the Landesgartenschau aims to offer events and activities revolving around nature, as well as relaxation and a good time for all age groups, according to Brenner.
The Landesgartenschau will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Tickets cost €16. Family tickets cost between €20 and €36. Tickets can be purchased at Schwäbisch Gmünd’s i-Punkt Tourist Information or online at www.shop.schwaebisch-gmuend.de.
Shuttle buses will depart every 15 minutes to and from the landscape park, forest and the downtown area. All areas can also be reached by foot..
Special events and entertainment will also be offered throughout the Landesgartenschau. For more, visit www. http://www.schwaebisch-gmuend.de/6873-Veranstaltungskalender_kopie.html.
For English guided tours call civ. 07171-603-4290.
For more information, visit www.schwaebisch-gmuend.de, or call civ. 07171-92264-00.